JOEY BELLADONNA Says ANTHRAX Treated Him Like He Was Just The Flute Player

Former ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna recently spoke with about his decision in early 2000 to bow out of the ANTHRAX tour that was to feature two frontmen: Belladonna and his replacement, John Bush.

The tour, which went ahead without Belldonna's involvement, was to feature Joey on the band's older songs, while Bush was to handle vocals on the more recent material. Both lead singers were to perform on the band's rendition of THE TEMPTATIONS classic "Ball Of Confusion", which appeared on their "Return of the Killer B's (A's)" album.

"We asked Joey to do this because we thought it would be something really cool for the fans, and they could enter a new millennium with a special ANTHRAX event," drummer Charlie Benante said in a statement issued a week prior to the start of the January 2000 tour. "However, Joey has decided that he doesn't want to take part in the festivities with us. He's the one who's going to miss out in seeing all those happy faces in the crowd that have been waiting for something like this for years, but we don't intend to let our fans down."

Speaking out for the first time about his decision to pull out of the trek, Belladonna said, "When they called me about that tour, it was completely out of the blue . . . [I was] very excited [about it], it was cool. But they kind of played the whole thing down, like it wasn't that big of a deal with me coming out. They were like if you don't have anything better to do, why don't you come out with us. They just played it down like if I wasn't there it didn't matter. Then when it didn't happen they turned it around and made it sound like I was asking for a whole lot of money. I just wish they would have considered me in a little more favorable way. They wanted to make me out as if I was just the flute player in the band and that I wasn't really that important.

"They never came up with a full negotiation for that tour. I was pleased to get the offer, but I would have really loved to go out as the lone vocalist. However, they didn't want to do the nostalgic thing. But, they waited to the very end and never gave me the right offer. It just didn't pan out."

Belladonna has spent the past few months holed up in Syracuse, New York with writing and playing partner Matt Zuber (ex-FUTURE DRIVEN) preparing tracks for his third solo album, tentatively due in late 2003/early 2004.

The recording process for the as-yet-untitled follow-up to 1998's "Spells Of Fear" (DeRock Records) is at the halfway point, according to the singer. "Well, right now depending on the material I use, some is done and some is not done," Joey said. "A couple songs here and another 5 or 6 from another project are finished. But, it's a little ways off, because I'm not really sure of what musicians are going to be participating. The demos are set up, the songs are laid out.

When asked to describe the sound and style of his new material, Belladonna said, "Well, it's in the hard rock category, some is very similar to what I did in ANTHRAX. It has a real edge to it, yet it's very melodic and has great vocals to it. No low-key singing, I still have my vocal range. It's not real current sounding, it's more like the good old traditional straight-up metal." Read the whole interview here.


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